Skills Needed For The 21st Century Workforce

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There are many skills that students learn throughout their educational career. Among one of the most important skills that students will gain is the ability to write. They will not only learn the penmanship skills needed to physically put words on a paper, but they will learn how to communicate their thoughts and ideas using those words. Tony Wagner (2008) recognizes “effective oral and written communication” as one of seven survival skills needed to “thrive in the new world of work” (p. 21-22). Preparing students for the 21st century workforce is a both a personal focus and school-wide focus of my inner city high school. As a campus, we constantly work to provide students with opportunities to strengthen the skills outlined by Wagner. When test scores arrive we always fall short in one area: writing.
Nagging Problem The English department at my school works endlessly to improve the writing scores amongst our students, but we have not been successful since the English I and English II STAAR End of Course Exams were introduced in 2012. Compared to other high schools in our district, we have consistently scored the lowest with a passing rate of under 50%. This not only affects our school’s accountability, but personally affects many of the students I teach everyday. This year over 200 seniors are in jeopardy of not graduating if they don’t pass this exam when it is administered in the beginning of April. Of those students, I teach 17 who are terrified that they will not be
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